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, a statement challenged by senator john mccain. >> were you correct in your assessment? >> well, i would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out. >> i think the committee deserves your judgment as to whether you were right or wrong about the surge? >> i'll explain why i made those comments... >> i want to know if you were right or wrong. that's a direct question. i expect a direct answer. >> reporter: hagel explained he opposed the surge because it cost 1,200 lives for a temporary victory. hagel, a former infantry soldier wounded twice in the vietnam war, said every war decision made in washington should consider the soldier first. >> i saw the consequences and the suffering and the horror of war, so i did question a surge. i always ask the question, "is this going to be worth the sacrifice?" because there will be sacrifice. >> reporter: but that was one of the few times hagel rebutted a direct question. he avoided explaining policy positions so often, republicans complained he hadn't answered basic questions. the administration fired back, scott, saying republicans had focused on tr
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